Big Two-Hearted River

Timothy - Rochester Hills, Michigan
Entered on November 28, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: nature
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Big Two-Hearted River

I believe in a small trout stream up in Michigan. With its source a spring deep within a sandy aquifer, the stream runs a constant cold year round. On hot summer days when I was a young boy an icy dip renewed life. I waded carefully fishing in the fast moving water watching my exact step on the gravel bottom, stalking the brook trout elusive. One time my little brother stepped in a mud nest of wasps and the resulting dozens of stings made both of his eyes swell shut. The stream provided the best round granite stones, which are the only proper slingshot ammunition for the battle with the pop bottles.

This is the Big Two Hearted River. Of course this is not the real name of the stream, though it is not far from there to here. A wise fisherman conceals his secrets. This is the name Ernest Hemingway also used in order to hide his secret stream. The old man knew. All such streams and secret places should be so honored with a name like the Big Two-Hearted River.

I eventually had to leave this place of my youth and move downstate to the motor city. I was too busy for too many years to return to carefully wade and to fish. Many years have past. Many things have happened. I cannot list them all here, but someday they might be properly recorded. But now, like a soldier home I return north to the spring.

The stream still runs cold and clear. The current is still fast. But I’ve learned that it is now new water that slides across the timeless gravel bottom. The old stream is gone. The whitewater of the small rapids is the result of the continuous battle of water against the rocky bottom. And now the fall leaves drop red to the water and drift to the icy deep of Lake Superior. Soon the winter will come. I feel it in the true north wind. It is time to go home again. The light snowflakes drift in the wind. This stream will not freeze. Spring will come again. This I believe.